Downtown Norfolk Council


Downtown Norfolk Kicks Off the Holidays

On Saturday, November 20, Downtown Norfolk kicks off what is sure to be a merry and bright 2021 holiday season filled with opportunities to enjoy your holiday traditions or even start some new ones. There are plenty of fun and family-friendly activities planned to keep things festive all season long — and it all kicks off on Saturday, November 20! Head Downtown to enjoy everything going on during this magical evening and throughout the holiday season.

Grand Illumination Celebration and Holiday Kickoff

From 5pm-7pm on November 20, we will kick off the holiday season Downtown with the traditional illumination of the Downtown Norfolk skyline as well as other free mini-activations throughout the evening, including:

  • Unveiling of new holiday art installations in the NEON District
  • Free Santa photo op with Hurrah Players elves outside at TCC Plaza
  • Entertainment by TCC Jazz Band, Community Bands, and Siren City Pipe Band 
  • Performances by The Rhythm Project and other entertainment by the Virginia Arts Festival
  • Snow Magic on Granby
  • Rudolph Ride from The Plot
  • Night one of the 7th Annual Hot Cocoa War

All culminating with the traditional illumination of the Downtown Norfolk skyline at 7pm!

Night One of The Great Hot Cocoa War

Downtown’s beloved Great Hot Cocoa War is back — and it's bigger and better than ever, with an ENTIRE WEEK to try all the chocolatey creations from participating restaurants and vote on your favorite from November 20-27. Who will have the most delicious hot cocoa in all the land? You decide! 

Selden Holiday Market

The Selden Holiday Market begins on November 20 and is full of some of the area’s best small businesses. With plenty of pop-ups, special shopping activities, and lots of other festive surprises, be sure Selden is at the top of your shopping destinations this holiday season. 

Ice Rink at MacArthur

MacArthur On Ice is open and ready for you to get your skate on! Stop by outside of MacArthur Center for skate rental, then practice your Triple Salchow to perfection under the festive light strands. 

WinterFest on the Wisconsin 

WinterFest on the Wisconsin is back with more lights and more nights! The region’s only waterfront light festival returns aboard the Battleship Wisconsin this holiday season with new light zones, live entertainment, new below-deck experiences, lighted boat parades on the river, and a guaranteed forecast of snow every night

Downtown Rudolph Ride

Elves from Elizabeth River Trail, Downtown Norfolk, and Lime are leading a festive ride through downtown and Freemason sections of the ERT on the night of Grand Illumination. Meet at the Plot in the NEON District at 5:45pm to don your Rudolph noses and antlers. Ride kicks off at 6pm, heading around the Hague and Freemason, cruising past Winterfest on the Wisconsin, checking out the Christmas Tree at Town Point Park and then riding under the lights on Granby, before returning to the Plot to see the skyline illuminated at 7pm. Reserve a FREE Lime bike in advance to use on the ride here.

Houses of Worship: A Downtown Norfolk Walking Tour

Join Norfolk Tour Company for this free walking tour of historic houses of worship in Downtown Norfolk, the role they played in shaping the early history of Norfolk, the architectural significance of the buildings, and how they add to Norfolk rich urban fabric today. The tour takes off at 6pm from St. Paul's Episcopal Church.